Singapore – With tickets selling quickly and party suites costing up to $70,000 (R1.26 million) a night, this weekend Singapore will host Asia’s first Formula One race since the epidemic.
The Singapore Grand Prix is set to attract tens of thousands of spectators from Friday to Sunday, as the night race returns after a two-year absence due to Covid.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen might add to the party mood by defending his world championship on the floodlit street track around the Marina Bay region.
However, one of the most famous F1 races has always been about more than just racing.
Away from the track, the city-state will have concerts by Westlife, the Black Eyed Peas, and Suede, as well as American rapper Fatman Scoop and Dutch DJ Oliver Heldens.
The menus of more affluent parties now include caviar and champagne, and guests can feast on F1-themed “Roaring Dinner Feast” and “Fuel Up Brunch.”
Approximately twenty-five corporate meetings and activities, including the Forbes Global CEO Conference, are organized, allowing executives to combine work and leisure.
Ong Ling Lee, an executive director at Singapore Tourism Board (STB), told AFP, “It conveys to the world that Singapore is back in business and that our ability to host world-class, high-quality events remains unaffected.”
Ong stated that ticket sales for Singapore’s largest event since the pandemic have already surpassed those of 2019, when 268,000 spectators attended.
After vaccinating over six million of its population and resolving to live with the virus, Singapore has abolished all Covid-related restrictions, with the exception of mask-wearing on buses and metro trains.
“From a global viewpoint, this is Singapore’s best moment since the epidemic,” CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun told AFP.
This is Singapore’s huge exit celebration from Covid.
In 2020, Covid devastated Singapore’s economy with its deepest-ever recession, and in 2021, visitor arrivals fell from 19.12 million in 2019 to 330 thousand.
In contrast, it transitioned to endemicity earlier this year and surpassed Hong Kong as Asia’s leading financial center in a global rating last week.
Song remarked that other Asian economies, such as Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, have felt “pressure” to loosen their travel restrictions in response to Singapore’s resolute liberalization.
“Formula One is also putting a light on Asia in terms of who is returning to business seriously.”
Even with room rates predicted to be up to 50 percent more than pre-Covid, hotel bookings have been robust.
Marcus Hanna, managing director of Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford, remarked, “There’s a great deal of pent-up demand from race enthusiasts who are eager to return to Singapore.”
For many, socializing is equally as vital as racing.
F1 after-party specialist Amber Lounge has a “Noir Suite” at the five-star Fullerton Bay Hotel for up to 25 people that costs Sg$100,000 (R1.26 million) a night. The hotel’s F1-themed menu included a “Pit Stop Cake.”
The neighboring casino and hotel complex Marina Bay Sands is hosting a “Mandala Weekender” where guests may enjoy a range of musical performances and parties.
Included are the American hip-hop combo Rae Sremmurd, the Grammy-nominated vocalist Kelis, and the popular British drum and bass band Rudimental.
“For me, it’s not just about the race; I want to see who is going to the party and whether the buzz has returned,” the economist Song said.
I believe it has returned with a fury.
Agence France-Presse»Singapore celebrated 2019 as F1 returned this weekend«